I have previously reviewed the Reolink RLC-811A, which includes a spotlight that switches on when movement is detected, allowing the camera to record in colour at night.
The new Reolink RLC-812A is slightly different in that it has the spotlight on all the time during the night, allowing it to record footage in colour all the time. It is not the most elegant solution to nighttime recording; unlike the Hikvision/Ezviz options, however, it will record in colour even when there is no light at all.
- 4K UHD – 3840X2160 (8.0 Megapixels) at 25 frames/sec
- 1/2.49″ CMOS Sensor
- FOV: Horizontal: 85° Vertical: 44°
- Spotlight: 4pcs/3.5W/6500K/400 Lumens
- Spotlight allows the camera to record in colour 24/7
- Built-in mic and speaker
- On-camera person and vehicle detection
- IP66 certified weatherproof
- POE connectivity
Reolink has a useful set-up video that you can follow here:
It is basically the same as every other POE Reolink camera. Plug it into your POE switch, scan the QR code with the app and assign a new admin user and password.
If you have a Reolink NVR, then it will automatically identify the camera on your network, and you just need to provide the password.
For Blue Iris, again, the same as usual. Get the IP address of the camera from the app, type in your username and password, then Find/Inspect. If you want to reduce CPU load, you will need to set the substream setting. Reolink uses h264 for substreams but h265 on the primary stream.
One thing worth noting, this is considerably smaller than the RLC-811A I previously reviewed (which had 5x optical zoom, siren and a spotlight). The size of this will be a bit more appealing to home users as it is a little more discrete.
As usual for my CCTV content, this is balanced on my window ledge, so its position isn’t perfectly matched to other reviews. Unfortunately, the end result was it pointed a little too much to the wall where my front door is. I will try and relocate it and get some footage with better street/path views.
Day Time Footage Sample
Day time footage is recording with an overall bit rate of 6 380 kb/s and at a 3840X2160 resolution at 25fps. For a 30min clip recorded on the Reolink NVR you use 1.4GB.
The sample footage is on a dull rainy day, with the camera providing plenty of clarity to make out the number plates of parked cars.
At first, I thought it had a narrower field of view than normal, but it is similar to most of the other fixed focal length cameras Reolink has, it is just my poor camera placement that makes it look a little narrow.
Night Time Footage Sample
Like usual, the night time recordings are smaller than day. The overall bit rate is 3 212 kb/s. This is due to the video being shot at an average frame rate of 12.474 FPS which then gives you a 690MB 30min file.
Nighttime footage is obviously the standout feature here. Not only is the footage in colour, but you don’t get the same IR glare as black and white video. This seems to depend on the angle but in my sample footage, car plates are readable. However, when I have experimented with other angles, the plate creates to much glare.
The spotlight being physically on all the time could be viewed as a good or bad thing. It definitely helps improve security, and anyone entering your property will notice it. However, I can imagine some people will prefer not to have a light permanently on during the night.
You can tweak the spotlight settings, changing the brightness or having it on schedule rather than just when it detects low light. The sample footage is with the default settings but because I have bright street lights I could easily dial it down.
Motion detection is the same as all the other smart detection cameras from Reolink. It is a significant improvement over the older motion detection and massively reduces the number of events you have to look through to find something.
One issue I have noticed is that when defining motion zones, the object doesn’t appear to stay within these zones. I don’t think it is a particular problem with person detection, but with my camera facing a road it means that I have almost constant events about car detection.
You can try and dial in the motion settings by defining minimum and maximum object size. I have not tested it properly yet, but it should be possible to reduce vehicle alerts on the main road that the camera faces by increasing the minimum size.
It is then possible to alter the sensitivity, so in my case, it is probably worth reducing the vehicle motion while keeping person high.
Price and Alternatives
Reolink have not set a price for this camera yet as it has not launched. You can expect it to be affordable, though. The RLC-811A is supposed to be £109, and all the other POE cameras they have are below £100, and I would expect this to be under £100 too.
For a lot of the recent Reolink reviews I have done, there have been no alternatives products from other brands. There is here, but with lots of caveats. The following cameras all have low lux sensors allowing them to record colour footage with minimum light. This avoids the need for a spotlight and reduces car registration plate glare, it will also be less annoying for your neighbours or passers-by.
To the best of my knowledge, all of these products are either based on Hikvision technology or even white-label Hikvision.
The Ezviz C3X is arguably a better camera in some ways. It has the colour night vision, and they also have person and human detection, which I found to be more accurate than Reolink. However, this is not POE that has a lower resolution, and more importantly, Ezviz is a proprietary system so you can record to third party NVRs.
Both the H.VIEW HV-500G2V5 for £109.99 and the ANNKE NC400 for £100 both have colour night vision, but again they have a lower resolution. They also don’t have a very good app (not sure if H.View has any) and don’t have human detection.
Annke has the NC800 Acme 4K, which is 8MP with AI human detection and colour night vision, but that will set you back £270. Then at that price point, you could start looking at Hikvision cameras such as the DS-2CD2386G2-I.
So there are plenty of alternative options but none that can quite match up with Reolink at this price point.
This is another great camera from Reolink. There is barely any competition from known brands at this sub £100 price point, so these review summaries have become somewhat predictable.
Admittedly, it is not perfect, but what do you expect at this price? No other company is cramming this much tech into a surveillance camera for £100, and for home users this is should offer more than enough performance for your needs (or any of the other Reolink cameras if you need different features).
Reolink RLC-812A Spotlight Camera Review Rating
The Reolink RLC-812A is an affordable way to get full-colour night recordings at 4K with the added benefits of object detection. While there are better technologies on the market to achieve this, you would need to spend more than double the price.
Overall - 85%
- Always on spotlight at night allowing full colour video
- AI motion detection
- Wide range of compatibility with ONVIF, MicroSD and Reolink NVR
- Always on spotlight may not be ideal for some users
I am James, a UK-based tech enthusiast and the creative mind behind Mighty Gadget, which I’ve proudly run since 2007. Passionate about all things technology, my expertise spans from computers and networking, to mobile, wearables, and smart home devices.
As a fitness fanatic who loves running and cycling, I also have a keen interest in fitness-related technology, and I take every opportunity to cover this niche on my blog. My diverse interests allow me to bring a unique perspective to tech blogging, merging lifestyle, fitness, and the latest tech trends.
In my academic pursuits, I earned a BSc in Information Systems Design from UCLAN, before advancing my learning with a Master’s Degree in Computing. This advanced study also included Cisco CCNA accreditation, further demonstrating my commitment to understanding and staying ahead of the technology curve.
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